News & ToursOctober 17, 2008

This week's syllabus: Oct. 17-23

__THE FAB FIVE

My look at the top five teams in the country right now

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  1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)

The Cowboys have a pair of golfers--Rickie Fowler of the U.S. and Sean Einhaus of Germany--playing at the World Amateur Team Championship this week.

Next event: Isleworth-UCF Invitational, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla., Oct. 26-28

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  1. Georgia (NR)

The Bulldogs defended their title at this week's Brickyard Collegiate, beating rival Georgia Tech by five strokes, and did so with senior All-American Adam Mitchell back in Athens, having failed to make the starting lineup. The Bulldogs finished strong but will need to get off to better starts if they don't want to give coach Chris Haack a heart attack.

Next event: Isleworth-UCF Invitational, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla., Oct. 26-28

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  1. Illinois (4)

The field wasn't all that strong at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate, but the Fighting Illini took care of business with a 18-stroke win, their third tournament title of the fall. Freshman Luke Guthrie's final-round 64 suggests that Mike Small's squad might be even deeper than we all think.

Next event: Isleworth-UCF Invitational, Isleworth CC, Windermere, Fla., Oct. 26-28


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  1. USC (2)

The Trojans surprisingly hit only 58.9 percent of the greens in regulation at the Ping Preview. Says here they'll improve that number as they get more than one tournament under their belt.

Next event: Isleworth-UCF Invitational, Isleworth CC, Windemere, Fla., Oct. 26-28

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  1. South Carolina (5)

Four different Gamecocks--Patrick Rada, Mark Silvers III, Allen Koon and George Bryan IV--have top-10 finishes already this season. We'll see if they can continue to perform when they faced their toughest test on their fall schedule next week outside Orlando.

Next event: Isleworth-UCF Invitational, Isleworth CC, Windemere, Fla., Oct. 26-28

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WOMEN

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  1. UCLA (1)

If the Bruins can win this weekend at Stanford, it will be their third team title of the fall and the first time they've won that many tournaments this early in the season since Carrie Forsyth took over the program in 1999.

Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 17-19

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  1. Arizona State (2)

The Sun Devil contingent has very respectable showing at World Amateur: Anna Nordqvist (Sweden) 2nd; Azahara Munoz (Spain) 3rd; Carlota Ciganda (Spain) T-11; Juliana Murcia (Colombia) T-57; Giulia Molinaro (Italy) T-76.

Next event: The Derby Invitational, Auburn University Club, Auburn, Ala., Oct. 24-26

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  1. USC (3)

The Trojans' team birdie conversion rate is 23.9 percent and no player on the defending NCAA champions whose score has counted for the team in their first two tournaments of the fall has made worse than a double bogey. Don't sleep on the Women of Troy!

Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 17-19

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  1. Oklahoma State (4)

The Cowgirls have arguably the world's best golfer (at least at this moment) playing for them in freshman Caroline Hedwell, whose 10-under 280 was the best score of anyone at the Women's World Amateur Team Championship in Australia and helped the Swedes easily win the Espirito Santo Trophy. Look for her to continue her strong play in California.

Next event: Stanford Intercollegiate, Stanford GC, Palo Alto, Calif., Oct. 17-19

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  1. Georgia (5)

Only one more week until the Bulldogs finally get back on the course after a 37-day layoff. Just how long really has it been since Georgia last played a tournament ... see the Stat of the Week below.

Next event: The Derby Invitational, Auburn University Club, Auburn, Ala., Oct. 24-26

__STAT OF THE WEEK

2,079.76__

The amount the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped since the Georgia women last played a tournament, through the close of business Oct. 16. When the Bulldogs won the Cougar Fall Classic on Sept. 16), the Dow closed at 11,059.02. At the end of the day this past Thursday, it was at 8,979.26

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WHAT TO WATCH FOR__

  • I haven't had a chance to talk with Lucas Lee and I don't know the specific thought process he went through in deciding this week to leave the UCLA program and turn professional. That said, the move from 3,000-plus miles away here in Connecticut seems a bit strange and speaks to a larger issue that's becoming more and more of a headache for college coaches. Why does a player come back and play one tournament your senior year and then decide to leave the program? Why not simply tell coach Derek Freeman that you're going to leave school a year early and give Q school a shot? Better to be all in or all out at the start of the season rather than jump mid-stream.

The issue becomes a problem for coaches in that they don't know how to plan for things and frequent left "eating" scholarship money. A coach has the working plan that Player A will be around for the 2008-09 season. If that player then tells the coach beyond a certain point they're leaving, the coach hasn't had time to recruit a replacement for that player and thus while having the player's scholarship money available, doesn't have anybody to offer a scholarship too.

It's why you almost have to admire the way Clemson junior Kyle Stanley has handled his decision to leave school at the end of this academic year. Stanley didn't keep things secret from Tiger coach Larry Penley, but was up front and told him early enough where Penley can recruit from this year's high school class and know he has to find somebody to replace the All-American. If Stanley didn't tell Penley until say this January that he was leaving after June, Penley would then be stuck because the major portion of the recruiting season for high school seniors would have already passed by.

Freeman, meanwhile, set up his squad assuming that Lucas Lee would be a valuable part of the team in 2008-09. Now Lee is gone, and Freeman and the rest of the team are stuck having to adjust. It's not the end of the world, but it sure didn't have to go down this way, either.

  • Whether you'll see the Duke Coca-Cola Individual Collegiate on the fall schedule again in 2009 is uncertain, but the concept of hosting an individual event to allow players to participate in more college tournaments is an intriguing one that coaches should more seriously explore. Sixty-three players from schools at the Division I, II and III level competed at Duke University GC this past week in Durham (ironically the Blue Devils didn't have any of their own players in the field). The event allowed them to get some real tournament experience on a championship level course, as well as allowed a few assistant coaches who attended the event the chance to get to coach during a tournament as well. If a few more of these type of events began regionally, I think it would be a good thing for the college game as you'd have outlets for players who otherwise might be languishing back on campus.

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TOURNAMENTS TO WATCH

MEN

Sycuan Collegiate Invitational__

Sycuan Resort's Willow Glen GC, El Cajon, Calif.

Oct. 20-21

Host: San Diego State__

Field:__ Air Force, Arkansas State, Army, Colorado State, Denver, Fresno State, George Mason, Hawaii, Idaho, Loyola Marymount, San Diego, San Diego State, San Jose State, UC Riverside, UTEP, UC Santa Barbara, Wichita State, Wyoming, Yale

Defending champion: Wichita State (20-over 884) by six strokes over San Diego State; Wichita State's Ryan Spears (one-under 215) by two strokes over UC-Riverside's Nick Paez

Skinny: Event being played for just the second year

__WOMEN

Stanford Intercollegiate__

(For live results, link here to Golfstat)

Stanford GC, Stanford, Calif.

Oct. 17-19

Host: Stanford

Field: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Duke, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, Southern California, Stanford, Texas, UCLA, UNLV, Vanderbilt, Washington

Defending champion: Arizona State (10-over 862) by four strokes over Duke; Arkansas' Stacy Lewis (two-under 211) by one stroke over Arizona State's Jennifer Osborn

Skinny: Finally, except for Arizona State, we've got all the best women's teams playing against each other again.

Lady Northern

(For live results, link here to Golfstat)

Kampen Course, West Lafayette, Ind.

Oct. 18-19

Host: Purdue

Field: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Toledo, Wisconsin

Defending champion: Kent State (14-over 878) by 13 strokes over Michigan State; Kent State's Kira Meixner (four-under 212) by three strokes over Michigan State's Laura Kueny

Skinny: The tournament is held annually at the course that will host the Big Ten Championship the next spring and all 11 conference teams are in the field this year.

Lady Pirate Intercollegiate

(For live results, link here to Golfstat)

Greenville CC, Greenville, S.C.

Oct. 19-21

Host: East Carolina

Field: Appalachian State, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Elon, Florida International, Gardner-Webb, Georgetown, Georgia State, High Point, James Madison, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Old Dominion, Presbyterian, Richmond, UTEP, Western Carolina, Winthrop, William & Mary, Xavier

Defending champion: Not held in 2007

Skinny: The Pirates resume hosting this fall event after a one-year hiatus. In four of five playings, the hosts have finished either first or second.

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